In response to increasing demand, The Hills Montessori School opened a second campus in 2011 to cater for Middle School students up to year 9 level, drawing on the extensive international Montessori Middle School experience and current Middle School educational best practice.
Characteristics of 12-15 year old
- ‘Humanistic’ Learners
- need for meaningful endeavour
- significant physical development
Young Adolescents need:
- physical activity and movement
- opportunities for relaxation & contemplation
- opportunities to creatively express thoughts & emotions
- to feel psychologically safe
- to explore ‘Who am I?’
- to be able to make decisions and make mistakes
- to fulfill a strong sense of social justice & individual dignity
- to do meaningful work that challenges them & is valued by the community
- reliable relationships with peers & adults
- to acquire flexible & inquiring habits of mind
- to work toward social & economic
The Adolescent Program
The Middle School builds on the successes of the primary school while providing growing adolescents with a style of learning relevant to their developmental needs. The Adolescent Program at The Hills Montessori School is a unique opportunity for study, work and development within a supportive community. The intensive program involves academic studies integrated with a rich variety of activities. Guided by observant and trained adults, students take responsibility for many aspects of caring for and developing their school site, such as designing and building structures, caring for gardens and running small enterprises. They are also involved in projects in the wider community, and in regular and challenging outdoor education experiences. Students cover all aspects of the curriculum taught in South Australian schools; however the teaching methodology is different. Learning is hands-on and interdisciplinary with time for discussion, reflection and debate about major philosophical, social and cultural questions. Focus on individual projects and ‘big picture’ questions lead to strong conceptual understanding within the traditional disciplines. This style of learning results in a deeper understanding of individual concepts and of the fundamental interconnectedness of knowledge.
Year levels and classes
The Middle School caters for students in years 7-9, and is located on the Wairoa campus at Stirling. The students work in a multi-age and multi-level community that is flexible and separates into various groupings for individual and group tasks, and for explicit teaching sessions. Students work with a team of teachers who facilitate their learning.
The most valuable resource of the Middle School is its people. Staff have been selected not only on the basis of their academic qualifications but also on the breadth of life experiences they have to offer and on their personal and professional commitment to the school and the students. The teachers are generalists, with complementary skills in specialist areas. A team of teachers acts as facilitators, guides and mentors for the student community, developing strong and lasting relationships. Because the teachers work closely with students over an extended period of time, they have an excellent knowledge of each student’s abilities and interests; this helps ensure that students’ progress in all areas is well monitored. It contrasts with mainstream schooling in which a student may feel anonymous within a very large cohort of students who see particular teachers for only an hour or two per week.